A Parable of Doves & Messy Married Lovebirds, by Wendy DeRaud

"In what belongs to the deeper meanings of nature and her mediation between us and God, the appearances of Nature are the truths of nature, far deeper than any scientific discoveries concerning them. The show of things is that for which God cares most, for their show is the face of far deeper things; we see in them, as in a glass darkly, the face of the unseen." George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons





When God wants to speak to my heart, He will take me into my garden, and if I go, He will compel me to look intently at one thing, to contemplate what He means to say to me through this expression of Himself that HE placed in Nature. There I find the richness and depth I am looking for, there He speaks to the deepest part of my soul in ways that bypass my rational mind



He may speak through the wind, He may speak in silence. He may speak as I work to get my tomato crop to grow healthy tomatoes, to rid them of invading worms. He may be speaking and I don't hear, but I can experience the way the noonday light flickers through the trees, and I know He is there.



Do you doubt in your ability to hear the voice of God talking to you personally? Then put yourself in His creation and let Him speak. He may compel you to notice the wind, or a particular type of tree, or a kind of a bird. Even the distinguishing of one bird from another explains a mystery of God's love. Meditating on the way nectar is extracted from a flower to feed a hungry hummingbird, or wondering how bees pollinate and propagate more flowers, or how geraniums  are easily transplanted while others need to be reseeded, adds to our appreciation of the vastness of God's love, and the intricacies of His ways, and how he provides for us all.



He may be giving you a parable right now, as you watch a dove meet her partner in the branches of a nearby tree. Since doves mate for life, they speak of loyalty, faithfulness and marital peace.


Yet doves are known for not being too bright. They build their nests in unlikely places, right in the middle of our worlds, where they could make themselves very vulnerable. Yet what could God be telling you, as you explain, once again, as you do every year, how stupid these doves can be, to build a nest there, where it could easily be toppled or invaded?!?


Created by the same God who made the zinnia, who is in the wind, who made you, me and the moon and called it all good, those doves are representatives of their creator like we are. They were there when they held the olive branch, letting Noah and his family know that land was nearby. They have been symbols of peace in many cultures. Yet we can ask, why do they appear so....dumb?


I see the picture of a long marriage, filled with love and fidelity. I see two flawed humans, who have seen extreme joys and extreme sorrows in their years together. More than anything, they have grown to know and love each other, all the peculiarities, all the foibles and flaws, all of the unique qualities that make their lover beautiful to them alone. No one else in the world may know you as well, even your most hidden faults, yet your lover still loves you no matter what.


We get to be ourselves with them, we can be vulnerable, and if we make a mess, we can laugh and continue to affirm our undying love.


This is how I see these silly doves, the way I see my husband and me. We have mated for life, we have built our nests in strange places, we may appear awkward at times, and indeed flawed (which goes without saying).



But God built His expression of love in lovebirds such as ourselves, and you too. We may need a reminder, sometimes, that we're okay - we're gawking and messy, but we're okay, and thankfully becoming the very best of ourselves, because of the love we give and receive so graciously.






When I hear a dove cooing and see her cavorting around my garden, I remember the sweet and peaceful beauty that's found in all the vulnerable, weak, and broken humans I know, who mean well, who have big hearts, who make mistakes and appear foolish. Thank you, God, for the doves.